Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Ethical shopping in Berlin

Where to shop clothes in Berlin when you want to get it ethical? Lately we get a lot of questions where to get organic textiles or where the ethical fashion shops are in Berlin. Now when we went shopping for ourselves, discovered it still is a rather difficult question. There is not a specialized shop, but if you do your best, you can find really cool stuff fair trade or organic.

Off course there is American Apparel. However cool they might be, they are not really organic or fair trade, but always the number one in the media when there is written about ethical fashion. Fair trade jeans brand Kuyichi is to find in several shops, although the collections are often rather small, we found only one male jeans, which is rather disappointing. There is the Berliner label Slowmo, great organic streatwear with limited collections. Okay, actually there is really a lot, you just have to make the efford to find it. Either chique labels like Noir, Misericordia, activist shoes from Vegetarianshoes or Blackspot sneakers at the Veganladen or eco-hemp clohting from the Hanfhaus in the Oranienstrasse.

We first went to Prenzlauer Berg and found a few rather priced down clothes from Patagonia, who integrate organic and recycled materials in their products. We also found a pear of sneakers from the French shoelabel Veja, pretty stylish sneakers from organic materials. We went to Mitte and searched for Howies, but we did not succeed. In stead we found a nice organic jeans from Lee. We believe it is best to buy from brands that are truly ethical and not only selling a few organic items to greenwash their image, nevertheless it is also great that one can find organic clothing from quite a lot of mainstream brands. And not to forget to notice, the great organic recycling label Pamoyo is coming to be sold in Berlin really soon!

Searching for a lunch place we passed the LPG at Kollwitzstrasse, claiming to be the largest biosupermarket of Europe. The concept of the LPG is that every costumer can become a member and shop with discount. Two flours of organic
products, with large meat and cheese counters, big nonfood area, childrens corner, and even a moving staircase. For dedicated bioshoppers this is quite a shock!
Geheimtip: on the first floor there is a soft, read couch where you can relax and drink a free cup of coffee. The canteen next to the entrance sells fresh soups and meals for 3-6 euros. We had a pasta with spinach-Gorgonzola sauce, a Broccoli grattin with salad and lemon whater for 10 euros, not too bad for Prenzlau. A popular place, and it does not seam to disturb any bio-shopper that all the Furniture is from Ikea. Something we found disappointing was to find cotton clothing in this biosupermarket without being controlled organic. Some work to do!

In genral one can say: organic is coming! In food we just stumble over the new biosupermarkets, take-away-shops, etc. For clothes it will come, and 2008 will be the year that ethical fashion getting more available in Berlin.

Visiting a natural textiles store (naturtextilien) we asked if they sold organic textiles. We were treated as if we asked for Satan. That organic is a religion, that it is all nonsense, that all their materials were natural, etc. Just when we left in full shock, we saw the cross hanging on the wall. A religious conflict just over organic cotton? It made us think, and when we later where in the bookshop Pro QM we had the idea to make a book about the connection between cultural creatives, LOHAS, and worldviews.

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